Saturday, December 10, 2016

California Native Americans: Genocide of the Yosemite Indians

California Native Americans: Genocide of the Yosemite Indians

Their four years' residence on the reservations, however, had been more of a school in the vices of the whites than one of a higher education. They became demoralized socially, addicted to many bad habits, and left the reservations in worse condition than when they were taken there. Their old tribal relations and customs were nearly broken up, though they still had their head men to whom they looked for counsel in all important matters.

As the country became more settled, much of their main food supply, the acorns, was consumed by the domestic animals of the ranchers, and their mode of living became more precarious and transitory, and many of them were, at times, in a condition near to starvation. In these straitened and desperate circumstances, many of their young women were used as commercial property, and peddled out to the mining camps and gambling saloons for money to buy food, clothing or whisky, this latter article being obtained through the aid of some white person, in violation of law.

Their miserable, squalid condition of living opened the way for diseases of a malignant character, which their medicine men could not cure, and their numbers were rapidly reduced by death.

At the present time there are not in existence a half-dozen of the old Yosemites who were living, even as children, when the Valley was first discovered in 1851; and many of the other tribes have been correspondingly reduced.